23 Aug 17 – Business rates, oversupply, exports & other:
23 Aug 17 – Business rates, oversupply, exports & other:
A DAY IN THE LIFE:
Parts of Langton are on holiday. Back properly after the Bank Holiday but, for the meantime (and rural internet permitting), the email will go out in shortened form. On to the news:
PUB, RESTAURANT & DRINK PRODUCERS:
The ALMR has called on both the Scottish and UK Governments to push forward with further reform in light of the Scottish Government’s review of non-domestic rates. The trade body encourages a number of recommendations put forward by the Barclay review, including: An increase in the frequency of revaluations to every three years from 2022; targeted reductions in bills to help retain town centre shops; a cut in the supplementary charge for large business premises, in line with England; a legal duty on businesses to provide information for assessors, and an extended 12-month period of rates relief for businesses investing in expansion.
The Food and Drink Federation is pleased to see that the government’s position paper on goods on the market ‘recognises the challenges for UK food and drinks products’ as the UK prepares to exit the EU. Director general Ian Wright commented: ‘Europe is an essential market for UK food and drink and we urge the Government to secure a transition deal swiftly to protect consumer choice and to prevent any unnecessary disruption.’
The NRN writes that US restaurant sales have been weakening since January 2015, primarily as a result of falling traffic in a competitive environment. Publicly traded chains have announced the closure of more than 350 locations this year alone — on top of closures last year — and have scaled back site opening targets.
The winner of the Good Food Guide’s Best Pub Restaurant Crown at this year’s Editor’s Awards is the michelin-starred Burchett’s Green in Berkshire.
A recent study based on a group of ageing subjects in California that had been observed closely for several decades has concluded that subjects who reported moderate alcohol consumption in the late-1980s were more likely than non-drinkers during follow-up to survive to 85, and also to be more likely to survive 85 cognitively intact (without evidence of dementia). Although the sample size was small, the study has been deemed to be of value due to its long time-frame.
HOLIDAYS, LEISURE TRAVEL & HOTEL:
OAG data shows that Jet2 was the most punctual airline in the UK in June and July, during which it achieved an on time rate of 85.8% and outperformed its peers by more than 4%.
The number of trips made abroad by UK travellers at the start of summer grew by 4% to 7.2 million. The fall in sterling accounted for a 15% increase in spending on these visits.
Concrete barriers are being installed in Italy to stop terrorist trucks attacking its most popular landmarks after the Barcelona attack.
RETAIL NEWS WITH NICK BUBB:
Overall View: Well, it is hard to know whether Mike Ashley really has increased his stake in Debenhams to 10.5% or 21%, such are the complications of derivative positions, but he certainly hasn’t stopped the share price from falling even further, as the shares hit 41p yesterday…
Sector trends/share prices: The All-Share index was flat yesterday and the Food Retail sector was up by 0.3% overall (MRW +0.5%, OCDO +0.7%, WINE +2.3%). The General Retail sector was up a tad overall (INCH +0.9%, SMWH +0.6%, SPD +1.1%, MOSB +1.6%, HFD +1.0%, SGP +1.6%, MMH +3.4%, MTC -5.0%, DEB -1.8%, DNLM -1.4%, VTU -1.1%, PETS -3.1%, QUIZ -1.4%). First thing today the market is expected to be up a bit, with Sports Direct and Debenhams in focus on the Retail beat.
Grocery Market Share Watch: The latest Kantar/Nielsen grocery sales data for the 4/12 weeks to Aug 12th/13th) came out at 8am, on schedule. And “the return of cooler weather and the exodus of people on summer holidays combined to bring a halt to two months of impressive sales growth for the UK’s leading supermarkets”, according to the Nielsen retail data released today. Following the highest year-on-year rise for at least four years in how much shoppers spent on groceries (5.1%) in the previous month, supermarket sales grew at half this rate (2.5% year-on-year) in the four weeks ending 12 August (sales of soft drinks were particularly impacted, falling 6.1% on last year). In contrast, the figures from Kantar Worldpanel published today for the 12 weeks ending 13 August, focus on the fact that Lidl has increased its market share to a new record high of 5.2% (up from 4.5% a year ago) to
Today’s Press and News: Thin pickings today, although there is some coverage of the Maplin/Game Digital concession tie-up and the FT and City AM pick up the news that the fast-expanding Online health and beauty retailer The Hut has bought RY, an Australian beauty company that is one of the largest Online haircare groups in the country. So far today the main excitement, apart from the news that Ford UK is to give consumers up to £2000 to scrap their old (pre-2010) cars, is that Sports Direct appears to have increased its derivatives-driven stake in Debenhams to 21% (from 19%?)…
Lidl has overtaken Waitrose as the UK’s seventh largest supermarket chain, increasing its market share by 0.7% year-on-year to 5.2%, per Kantar Worldpanel. Families are driving its sales as they tend to buy more items in one supermarket visit. ‘Ten million households visited [Lidl’s] expanding network of stores during the past 12 weeks, with alcohol and fresh produce performing particularly well as the retailer increased sales by 18.9% overall,’ said Fraser McKevitt, head of retailer and consumer insight at Kantar Worldpanel.
The Pensions Regulator will prosecute disgraced former BHS boss Dominic Chappell for failing to provide information and documents requested during the regulator’s investigation into the sale of BHS.
UK property sales surpassed 100,000 for the third month this year in July, although the 107,500 homes sold points to a relatively static UK housing market. Earlier this month, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors said its members believed that a slowdown in the market was spreading from London to other parts of the South East of England.
The government recorded a budget surplus in July for the first time since 2002, with the £0.2bn surplus comparing to a £0.3bn deficit last year. However, for the four months so far this year public sector net borrowing – which leaves out support for public sector banks – was £1.9bn higher than last year’s at £22.8bn.
Household bills have risen by 2.1% in the past year, according to research by MoneySavingExpert, suggesting the ‘cost of living squeeze’ may be less steep than feared. The figure is based on official data and is less than the 2.6% rise in the Consumer Prices Index in July.
An industry survey from the Confederation of British Industry indicates that British factories expect further strong growth over the next three months after a pick-up in orders. However, consumers are likely to feel greater pressure from higher prices. ‘There are further signs that exporters are feeling the benefit from the lower pound in this month’s figures, and output growth is expected to power on over the coming quarter,’ CBI economist Anna Leach said.
UK employers are growing increasingly worried about the economy, according to a survey of 601 employers by the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC). REC chief Kevin Green said the result of the survey, which showed that 31% expect the economy to worsen compared to 28% who anticipate an improvement, should ‘raise a red flag’ and called for greater clarity over Brexit.